By Jarrett Lehman
When students get bored, there’s a place they can go: the Gameroom, located to the left of Ellis White Theater in the Hammond Building at Fitchburg State College.
This is the central spot on campus to participate in free activities, including billiards, table tennis, Fooseball, darts, and board games. Just last year it acquired a Nintendo Wii; an Xbox 360 Pro, along with a variety of games, both single and multiplayer; and even an Xbox Live account, all free to use.
The Gameroom is currently open from noon to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays.
The Gameroom has become a popular retreat from regular classwork and stress, as well as a good place to meet new friends. However, with the Gameroom closed on weekends, there is less to do on campus, and many people who have the means to leave, do.
This may change, though, thanks to the Gameroom’s growing popularity.
“I’d love to keep the Gameroom open during weekends, but last year there just weren’t enough students showing interest,” says Mike Makoski, assistant director of student development. “This year we are seeing a lot more student activity, [so] it is highly possible we could be seeing more hours this semester. We’ll see how it goes.”
Tyler Delano, an employee of the student-development office, agrees that the Gameroom has become a more popular place. “Last semester, truthfully, the Gameroom didn’t really get that many people in it,” he says. “This semester, we have a lot more. The numbers have almost doubled.”
Actually, they’ve more than doubled. Last year’s Gameroom attendance ranged from somewhere around 400 to 500 people a month; this year, the numbers come close to 2,000 students per month.
Special events such as blacklight 9-ball, pool tournaments, and open-mic nights have helped to increase those numbers.
Two years ago, the Gameroom was open on weekends; however, the Gameroom also charged $2 per hour for student use. A combination of increased minimum wage, budget cuts, and low student activity led to the Gameroom being closed on weekends.
However, that could change. “If we hear a need that the students want to have the Gameroom open for weekend hours, we will work to make that happen,” Makoski says. “But first we need to know they have that need. A dedicated population needs to be active in order to change this.”
Students who would like to see the Gameroom open on weekends are asked to send an email to Makoski at email@example.com, or to Hank Parkinson, director of student development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.